Right from the minute you get this unit out of the box it impresses, from the mirror finish base to all of the detailing on the side of the fins. I think this VGA card cooler is one of the best looking ever to come out from Zalman. Besides looking good in broad daylight this cooler features a blue 80 mm LED fan. Combine the two and it becomes clear that this cooler will be the choice for both modders and people who want a good performing VGA card cooler.
The base of the VF1000 LED's finish is immaculate. There were no milling marks visible and the polishing job was nothing short of perfect, you can actually use the base of this cooler as a mirror. I also tested to see if it was flat and compared to a razor, and I found that it was perfectly flat. On the two pictures above you can see just how shiny the surface of the base is. The picture with the reflection of my camera was taken with the camera being approximately 1 meters away which is quite a distance. As you can see there is no distortion besides that of my camera's lens. The quality of both the milling and the polishing work is some of the best I have ever seen on a cooler.
When examining this cooler I noticed all sorts of small details. For example the fins have both a ZM logo and "Quiet VGA Cooler VF1000" embossed on all of the blades. Besides the aesthetically details it's also evident that Zalman has gone a long way to ensure that this cooler will be able to cool down even the most power hungry cards. Each fin is attached to four heat pipes by some soldering metal (this is what I think it is, it could be some sort of thermal epoxy, but due to the fact that it looks as though it has been on liquid form I would assume that it's some kind of highly conductive soldering metal). The imperfection on the base is just some condensation created by me breathing on the thing.
The RHS88 profile is essentially a lot of aluminum rods on a base which makes contact with all of the components on the 8800-cards that produce heat. The rod design has been used on a large variety of coolers in the last years. It is found on, i.e. Swiftech's air north bridge coolers. This type of design allows for the air to flow across the surface with minimal resistance. In my opinion this solution is perfect coupled with the VF1000 LED because it only has one 80 mm fan blowing down on the surface of the RHS88. With this flow design the air flow produced by the fan should be enough to reach the components near the edges of the board.
As with most of Zalman's new products the VF1000 LED comes bundled with a "fan mate". Zhis can adjust the fan sped anywhere from 7 to 12 Volts letting you tweak the balance between cooling performance and fan noise.
Zalman supplies some of their generic thermal paste along with both the RHS88 and the VF1000 LED.
Since I won't be using the thermal paste on the actual card I thought that I might give you guys an idea of how the Zalman goop looks. I found that the Zalman thermal paste is a bit like a soft version of the Arctic Silver Ceramique. It's a bit softer and feels more like a liquid. On the left picture you can see the stuff that I use on all my cards namely the Arctic Cooling MX-1 ceramique thermal paste. It's a lot harder to work with than the Zalman paste, but does give a certain cooling advantage over time compared to the Zalman one.
Zalman also supplies some of their normal blue RAM heatsinks with the VF1000 LED. However, these cannot dissipate enough heat in order to function on a hot GeForce 8800 graphics card. Therefore you need to invest in the RHS88 heatsink system which is specially designed to fit 8800 cards.
The blue heatsinks are in the same plastic bag as the small rubber grommets. This posed a little problem for me because two of the RAM heatsinks had swallowed a rubber grommet each.